Greece: Massive denials of entry, lockdown of migrant and refugee centres extended


ECRE provide an update on the situation in Greece, where the Shipping Minister has said that 10,000 people have been prevented from irregularly entering the country so far in 2020, the coronavirus lockdown on centres for migrants and refugees has been extended until 15 September, and the first instance recognition rate for asylum claims has risen to 69%.

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On denial of entry (emphasis added):

"Minister Plakiotakis with Greek coast guard under his mandate stated at a news conference on 2 September that arrivals had decreased 84 per cent since 1 March, compared to the same period of 2019, and that the drop in the month of August was 95 per cent compared to August 2019. According to Plakiotakis 10,000 people have been prevented from accessing Greece in 2020 so far but the Minister refused to elaborate on how this had been achieved, stating simply that the Greek coast guard: “operates based on international law and international legality, based on the rules of engagement at sea, and … with complete respect for human dignity and of course for human life”."

On the lockdown:

"Following a joint decision by the Ministers of Civil Protection, Health and Immigration and Asylum the lockdown of all structures hosting refugees and migrants has been extended to 15 September. The lockdown, presented as a COVID-19 measure, has been in place since 21 March. The Ministry of Asylum and Migration further announced another round of closures of hotel accommodation facilities for asylum seekers, in Kozani, Edessa, Prespes and Grevena."

This decision comes as the first known case of coronavirus was detected in the massively-overcrowded Moria camp on Lesvos.

On recognition rates:

"According to Eurostat figures, over two thirds of first instance decisions (69%) taken by the Greek Asylum Service in 2020 granted international protection. Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) highlights that the figures dispel government statements to the contrary and point to a steady and significant increase in the population of beneficiaries of international protection in Greece, who face severe obstacles to access rights due to the absence of a holistic plan to enable their integration in the country."

Source: Greece: 10,000 People Prevented Access, Lockdown Extended, Recognition Rate Increases (ECRE, link)

And see: Moria refugee camp under quarantine after coronavirus case (Al Jazeera, link):

"Authorities in Greece have placed the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos under quarantine after the confirmation of the first coronavirus infection in the notoriously overcrowded facility.

The Ministry of Migration and Asylum said in a statement on Wednesday that a Somali refugee, 40, had tested positive and was being treated at a hospital in Mytilene, the main town of the island.

Media reports said he was in good health."

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